The Jam for Grandma

It’s a tradition of sorts for me and one of my grandmothers that one of her gifts each Christmas is my spiced apricot jam. This stuff is pretty delicious and it makes the house smell sooo good! This recipe makes approximately 6 cups (So good for making six 1/2 pint jars). Mine only made 4 this time around because I reduced it so much.

Ingredients
– Roughly 1 lb dried apricots
– 1 1/2 quarts water
– 2 cinnamon sticks
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– Approx. 1 lb, or 2 1/2 cups sugar. I use castor sugar, but brown sugar is fine too.
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
Optional extra: 2 cloves and 4 cardamom pods, to be added along with the cinnamon. – KB Note: I haven’t included this before but I bet it would be delicious.

Directions
1. Soak the apricots in water overnight.
2. Put the apricots and soaking water into a large heavy-based saucepan, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, stir in the ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the apricots are nice and softened. Stir occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, put a small plate in the freezer to chill, as you will need this later to check the setting point of your jam.
4. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir frequently until mixture comes to the boil. Leave to simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes. KB Note: I generally let it reduce into a thick syrup for much, much longer than 40 minutes – more like 2 hours!!

jam1
5. Check if the jam has reached set. To do this, put a tsp of jam onto the cooled plate. Allow jam to cool, and then draw a line through the jam with your finger. If the jam stays separated, it is ready. If not, continue to simmer the jam for another 10 minutes and then re-check. Continue this method until you are happy with the consistency of your jam.
6. Once I like the consistency of the jam I pour it all into a large food processor. I personally don’t like jam with massive chunks of fruit in it because it’s too hard to spread, so I chop up the apricots. Not necessary for the recipe, though!
7. Meanwhile, prepare your jars. The best way is a nice hot wash in the dishwasher. Or you can wash out some jars with hot soapy water and allow to dry upside-down on a rack. Before use, pour some boiling water inside the jars to sterilize them.
8. Ladle the jam from the food processor (if you chose to do this step) into your jars, up to 1/2 inch from the top. I like to keep the cinnamon sticks – I think they look pretty in the jar. Remove the cloves and cardamom pods though, if you added them. Put on the lid, and turn jars upside-down for 5 minutes to seal and sterilize the lids. Then turn upright and allow to cool.

All set to be packaged!

All set to be packaged!

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